Read the devastating reflections of a woman who lost her spouse 40



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Most of you will never have heard of Sheryl Sandberg but the Facebook status she penned 30 days after the death of her husband has gone viral – and for good reason. It’s a raw and honest account of the conflicting emotions and endless void that occur when you find yourself suddenly alone.

Ms Sandberg is the chief operating officer for Facebook. Her husband Dave Goldberg, chief executive of SurveyMonkey, died unexpectedly a month ago aged just 47.

Today, is the end of the traditional mourning period in Jewish custom and Ms Sandberg has “come back to life” by sharing her experiences over the past 30 days.

She says: “I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.”


Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense…

Posted by Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday, June 3, 2015


The theme of the post is choosing to live, even when the one you love lives no more.

“When tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.”

Ms Sandberg goes on to share the lessons she has been taught from losing her husband, and realising how lucky she was to be, at least, in a strong financial position:

“I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.”

As someone who has always been in control, the planner, the do-er, the big sister, Ms Sandberg writes about the humbling experience of asking for help, and also her extreme gratitude for friends, family, her children and life.

“When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before.”

The Facebook chief’s post has been shared 85,000 times on Facebook in keeping with her wishes to reach and acknowledge as many people as she can.

We know many Starts at 60 readers have lost their loved ones. Today we honour and support you and hope you, too, have found a way to come back to life.

What words of advice do you have for Sheryl Sandberg at this difficult time in her life? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It is very sad, death affects us all, none of us or anyone we know will escape death, and those that are left behind feel the pain

  2. What can you say to something like that? Sheryl I feel for you and to all of us who have lost someone, from death or otherwise, it is hard but try to stay strong.

  3. No advice, everyone has their own way to grieve. The only thing I ever remind those in the raw pain of early grief is that they will learn to live with this and there are no rules for grieving.

  4. You never forget ,you just learn to cope. I always took my hubby with me spoke to him like he was here,in my mind of course

  5. I ,am blessed my husband is still with me after 58 years what can I tell they say time but all time will do will help you to take each day as it comes may God ease your pain and lonliness may your family and friends be there when you need them xxxx

  6. Losing a loved one is the worst thing in life and, alas, is something we will all face. No words can comfort, the pain is awful, time heals but you never get over it, and ultimately we just cope as best we can. I talk to photographs and finds this helps me.

  7. I lost my husband after 7 weeks of illness. I wasn’t ready for it, and felt as though I no longer had any purpose, but one must go on. I take one day at a time and make sure I keep up the contacts of people who offer friendship. Really all I want to do is curl up in a corner, but I need a life. Grief is a lonely experience. I am grateful to those who reach out to me.

    2 REPLY
    • I lost my darling 2 and a half years ago and it still hurts we’d been married 46 and a half yrs he just dropped down and couldnt be revivied.I miss him desperately and always will.Itto say the least as there was no hint anything was wrong.I just take each day as it comes tears are frequent too.

  8. My son lost his wife last year, at the age of 44 she had been sick for 2yrs with cancer, it hit him hard but he has to go in for the sake of their daughter she is 12yrs old, they are better now but it will take a lot of time, as you say it just takes time.

  9. It’s 9 years since I lost my hubby, I was 56. It took awhile to grieve but a couple of years ago I was lucky to meet a wonderful man and re marry. On my wedding day my son said , “dad hoped you would meet someone mum so he will be happy for you”.
    I nearly cried.

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